WITH A WIN…
Pornanong Phatlum would join Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn and Thidapa Suwannapura as LPGA winners from Thailand, all of whom have won this season. She would also join A. Jutanugarn as the only major winners, male or female, from Thailand.
A win from Phatlum would give Thailand its second major champion of the year. Only the United States and the Republic of Korea have had multiple major winners in one season. (NOTE: Jenny Lidback won the 1995 Du Maurier Classic representing her birth country of Peru, but she held dual citizenship with Sweden. Annika Sorenstam, also from Sweden, won that year’s U.S. Women’s Open.)
With the $490,000 winner’s check, Phatlum would move into the top 15 of the 2018 LPGA Money List with $656,018.
Georgia Hall would be the LPGA’s first English winner since Charley Hull at the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship.
Hall would be the first English major winner since Karen Stupples won the 2004 Ricoh Women’s British Open and the fourth overall, along with Laura Davies (four majors), Alison Nicholas (one major). She would also become the fifth European major winner of the last decade, joining Pernilla Lindberg (Sweden), Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Suzann Pettersen (Norway) and Catriona Matthew (Scotland).
Should Hall take the victory, it would be the third consecutive year that an LPGA rookie earned a major title. In Gee Chun won the 2016 Evian Championship, while Sung Hyun Park won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.
Hall would earn 300 points toward the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award and move into second in those standings behind Jin Young Ko, who leads with 889 points but did not make the cut at Lytham.
With the $490,000 winner’s check, Hall would move into the top 15 of the 2018 LPGA Money List with $648,650.
Phatlum and Hall would become the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2018 LPGA season.
So Yeon Ryu would become the sixth player in LPGA history with three major titles, joining Beverly Hanson, Betty Jameson, Nancy Lopez,Mary Mills and Jan Stephenson. She would need a victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship or the Evian Championship to capture the Career Grand Slam.
Ryu would become the sixth player from the Republic of Korea to claim major victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, joining Se Ri Pak(2001), Jeong Jang (2005), Jiyai Shin (2008, 2012), Inbee Park (2015) and In-Kyung Kim (2017).
A win from Ryu would give the Republic of Korea its second major champion of the year, joining KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Sung Hyun Park.
With the $490,000 winner’s check, Ryu would move to second on the 2018 LPGA Money List with $1,404,416; she would also remain in 16th on the Career Money List with $9,968,386.
PHATLUM FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS
By looking at the statistics sheet, it’s easy to see why Pornanong Phatlum is leading the Ricoh Women’s British Open. She has hit 38 of 42 fairways and 50 of 54 greens in regulation, an astounding display of accuracy. Phatlum has five more fairways than her closest competitors (33 apiece for Hyo Joo Kim, Mo Martin and Annie Park) and five more greens in regulation (45 for Amy Olson).
MAJOR CHAMPIONS LURKING
While Pornanong Phatlum holds the lead going into the final round, there is no lack of major experience lurking in the top 10. Two-time major winner So Yeon Ryu trails by two strokes, no doubt hoping to erase the memory of her final-round collapse and playoff loss at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in July. Sung Hyun Park, whose brilliant short game propelled her to that KPMG four-stroke comeback victory, is just three strokes behind Phatlum. Brooke Henderson is five strokes behind, while Lydia Ko would need to come back from a six-stroke deficit.
The largest comeback in Ricoh Women’s British Open history is four strokes, done by Se Ri Pak in 2001. The largest comeback in major history is seven strokes, done by Patty Sheehan at the 1983 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and Karrie Webb at the 2006 ANA Inspiration.
PLAYOFF DRAMA AT 2018 MAJORS
In its 17-year major history, the Ricoh Women’s British Open has never gone to a playoff. However, all three majors so far in 2018 have required extra holes to crown a victor. In April, Pernilla Lindberg outlasted Inbee Park and Jennifer Song in a marathon eight-hole playoff that stretched into Monday morning. Two months later, Ariya Jutanugarn needed four extra holes to defeat Hyo Joo Kim. July’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship brought saw Sung Hyun Park take the victory after a two-hole playoff with So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hataoka.
ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS UPDATE
With a win at last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, Ariya Jutanugarn regained the top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. However, four players – Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng or In-Kyung Kim – could wrest that away with a strong finish at this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open.
S.H. Park is projected to move to World No. 1 with a win at Royal Lytham & St Annes. She can finish as low as fourth and regain the top ranking, depending on various finishes by A. Jutanugarn, Ryu, Sh. Feng and I.K. Kim.
Ryu is projected to move to World No. 1 with a win at Royal Lytham & St Annes. She can finish second and regain the top ranking, depending on various finishes by A. Jutanugarn and S.H. Park.
Sh. Feng must win and have A. Jutanugarn and I. Park finish seventh or worse, and S.H. Park and Ryu finish third or worse.
I.K. Kim must win and have A. Jutanugarn finish 20th or worse, S.H. Park finish fourth or worse and Ryu finish third or worse.
Inbee Park missed the cut at Royal Lytham & St Annes and therefore cannot move back to World No. 1.
After the second round, A. Jutanugarn is T13 at -6, S.H. Park is T4 at -10, Ryu is third at -11, Sh. Feng is T22 at -5 and I.K. Kim is T38 at -1.
Rolex Rankings No. 97 Pornanong Phatlum (67-67-69—203, -13)
Phatlum is playing in her eighth Ricoh Women’s British Open; she has only made the cut once, finishing T27 in 2014
She carded her first bogey of the championship at the par-3 12th hole in the third round, her 48th hole of the championship, where she found a greenside bunker off the tee
Her 54-hole score of 203 is her major best by seven strokes, bettering the 210 she shot at the 2015 Evian Championship; she shot a 222 in her only other Ricoh Women’s British Open made-cut in 2014
Phatlum has only held a 54-hole lead twice, coming at the 2013 CME Group Titleholders and the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; she finished third and second, respectively
This is Phatlum’s 18th tournament of the 2018 LPGA season; her best finish is T7 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
Her best major finish is seventh at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open
She turned professional in 2006 and joined the LPGA Tour in 2009 after finishing T34 at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
Phatlum has four runner-up finishes in her LPGA career – the 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, the 2015 Cambia Portland Classic and the 2016 HSBC Women’s Champions; she also has an unofficial win at the 2012 HSBC Brasil Cup, a two-day exhibition
She has two wins on the Ladies European Tour – the 2012 Hero Women’s Indian Open and the 2013 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters
The last time Phatlum held a portion of the lead following any round was the third round of the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, where she finished second
Rolex Rankings No. 39 Georgia Hall (67-68-69—204, -12)
Hall is playing in her sixth Ricoh Women’s British Open; she has made the cut three times, with a best finish of T3 in 2017 at Kingsbarns
Hall carded her first bogey of the championship at the par-4 13th hole, her 49th hole of the event
Her 54-hole score of 204 is one stroke better than her previous Ricoh Women’s British Open best of 205, which she shot in 2017
Her 204 is also the lowest 54-hole score of her LPGA career
This is Hall’s 15th tournament of the 2018 LPGA season; her best finish is T7 at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
Her best career major finish is T3 at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open
Rolex Rankings No. 4 So Yeon Ryu (69-69-67—205, -11)
Ryu is playing in her seventh Ricoh Women’s British Open and has never missed the cut; her best finish is T3 in 2015
Her third-round 67 is tied for her best single round at the Ricoh Women’s British Open; she previously shot a 67 in the first round in 2015
Her 205 is her best 54-hole showing at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, bettering the 2010 she shot en route to a T8 finish in 2016
This is Ryu’s 16th tournament of the 2018 LPGA season; she won the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, finished second in a playoff at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and has two other top-10 finishes
Ryu has six LPGA victories, including major wins at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2017 ANA Inspiration, both coming in playoffs
Rolex Rankings No. 51 Mamiko Higa (66-69-71—206, -10)
Higa is playing in her third Ricoh Women’s British Open; she finished T7 in 2013 and missed the cut in 2014
This is Higa’s ninth LPGA start; her best finish is a tie for third at the 2013 Mizuno Classic in her native Japan
Higa is a full-time member of the JLPGA; she has four victories on that tour, including the 2018 KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open, and has 13 top-10 finishes in 2018
She is currently No. 1 on the JLPGA’s Mercedes-Benz Player of the Year rankings, second in stroke average at 70.48 and fourth on the money list
Higa is trying to become the second Japanese player to win a women’s major championship, joining Chako Higuchi, who won the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Minjee Lee (65-70-71—206, -10)
Lee is playing in her fifth Ricoh Women’s British Open; she has made the cut twice, finishing T25 in 2016 and T9 in 2015
This is Lee’s 18th tournament of the 2018 LPGA season; she has a win at the LPGA Volvik Championship and seven other top-10 finishes, including a runner-up showing at last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
Lee has four LPGA victories – the 2015 Kingsmill Championship, the 2016 LOTTE Championship, the 2016 Blue Bay LPGA and the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship
Her best major finish is T3 at the 2017 ANA Inspiration
Lee is trying to become the third Australian to win a women’s major championship; with a win, she would join Karrie Webb (seven majors) and Jan Stephenson (three majors)
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Sung Hyun Park (67-70-69—206, -10)
Park is playing in her third Ricoh Women’s British Open; she finished T50 in 2016 and T16 in 2017
This is Park’s 16th tournament of the 2018 LPGA season; she has wins at the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
She has two major victories, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as well as wins at the 2017 CP Women’s Open and the 2017 Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic
Park is trying to become the sixth player from the Republic of Korea to claim major victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open; with a win, she would join Se Ri Pak (2001), Jeong Jang (2005), Jiyai Shin (2008, 2012), Inbee Park (2015) and In-Kyung Kim (2017)
ROLEX ANNIKA MAJOR AWARD AT STAKE FOR RWBO WINNER
Tomorrow’s winner will become eligible to win the 2018 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, which is bestowed upon the player with the season’s most outstanding major championship performance. She will join Pernilla Lindberg (ANA Inspiration), Ariya Jutanugarn (U.S. Women’s Open) and Sung Hyun Park (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), with the award decided following the season’s final major, The Evian Championship. Past winners are Michelle Wie (2014), Inbee Park (2015), Lydia Ko (2016) and So Yeon Ryu (2017).
THITIKUL TO RECEIVE LOW-AMATEUR AWARD
As the only amateur to make the cut, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul will receive the Smyth Salver, which is presented to the championship’s low amateur (provided she completes 72 holes). Past recipients include 2018 competitors Emma Talley (2014), Georgia Hall (2013), Lydia Ko (2012, 2013), Danielle Kang (2011), Caroline Hedwall (2010), Anna Nordqvist (2008), Amy Yang (2005) and Michelle Wie (2004).
Thitikul burst onto the international golf scene when she won the 2017 Ladies European Thailand Championship, part of the Ladies European Tour, at 14 years, 4 months and 19 days old. She won the 2018 Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship and earned an exemption into the following week’s HSBC Women’s World Championship, where she finished T8.
10 countries are represented in the top 12 – Thailand, England, Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei.
At 8-under 208 and in a tie for seventh, Mina Harigae is the leading American, with Brittany Altomare (210), Jessica Korda (211) and Cristie Kerr (212) joining her in the top 20
The three major winning scores at Royal Lytham & St Annes are 285 (-3, Catriona Matthew, 2009), 281 (-7, Sherri Steinhauer, 2006) and 278 (-10, Annika Sorenstam, 2003)